Baseball Picks Daily Fantasy Expert Advice

James Davis

Daily Fantasy MLB Baseball Picks for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster 4/24/15

Ready to make the leap and get access to the exclusive projection system that produces these picks? Sign up now and get a free 3 day trial to our lineup construction tool for FanDuel, DraftKings and Draftster.

FantasyBaseball_728x90 (1)



Zack Greinke - FD 10000 DK 10100 DFSTR 9000 SpTradeX A
There's just a lot to love about Greinke at this price, in this match-up, in this park. Even with San Diego's considerable offensive overhaul, most of their new faces are drastic platoon guys the other way. Kemp, Upton, Norris, Myers - all of these guys prefer left handed pitching. Then there's the matter of San Diego's league-best pitcher's park. Now, Cashner has been pitching lights out this year (more on him in a minute), but Greinke still feels like the more qualified option of the two, and I like LA's chances for the win in this one.

Jon Lester - FD 9000 DK 8700 DFSTR 7700 SpTradeX A
Ooooh, this is such a sexy spot to grab Lester. "But James," you protest, "Lester has sucked this year! 25 hits! 14 IP! He got crushed by the Reds!!" Calm yourself, hypothetical protester. Have a seat. Let's chat. It's true - Lester has a yucky ERA this year. But let's dig deeper, shall we? In all but 2 years of his career he's had a strand rate of about 74%-76%. This year? 60%. Has he some how inherited the un-clutch blues? Is the presence of pitchers in the NL baffling him? No. His xFIP is actually higher this year than last year. The Reds are 23rd in the league in wOBA against left handers. Mike Leake is pitching for them. This is a phenomenal spot to grab a still-fine Jon Lester.

Garrett Richards - FD 8500 DK 9500 DFSTR 7600
Strictly in the likely off-board GPP play - I like the above two guys way better for cash games. But there's seriously a case here. First of all, the righty-heavy Angels are facing what's left of Wandy Rodriguez. Almost a surefire bloodbath. Furthermore - the Rangers have managed a sub-.600 OPS against right handed pitching this year, AND they will be away from their hitter friendly home park, and in LA's incredibly pitcher-friendly park. The only thing that keeps this from being a slam dunk is how lost Richards looked in his first start. Okay, 1 start sample and all - but coming off of injury, nothing is a sure thing. So I'd consider Richards, but deploy him with caution

I'm not saying, but I'm just saying... if you played Chris Heston in Colorado, you'd be the only one to do it, you'd get a guy with a 16 K / 5 BB rate this season, and you could get every expensive hitter. It's probably insane, mind you. But if could also win a GPP.

Editor's note: Our original run of projections for some reason didn't have King Felix. Needless to say he is a solid, top end play at a -190 against the Twins. Great ballpark against a tepid offense. But he'll cost. Still like Greinke at a better Pts/$ though.




Salvador Perez - FD 3400 DK 3700 DFSTR
The price on Perez has dipped from early season highs, which is weird, because he's been pretty damned good for a catcher. His .50 point spread in wOBA against left handers means he's a must consider any time he's facing a southpaw, and that's certainly the case here. Quintana is a fine pitcher, but he's been leaving a lot of balls up in the zone this season, and hitters have tagged him for a 4.80 xFIP. I kinda love this spot.

Devin Mesoraco - FD 3200 DK 3500 DFSTR 6000
Now, I like Lester to be sure - but if you go in another direction, Mesoraco makes for a very interesting play. He's one of the few Reds with a strong platoon edge against lefties - he's posted a .371 wOBA against them for his career - and while some of the guys around him may struggle, this is what he was put on planet Earth to do. Throw in a nice hitters' park, and you've got a very nice catcher play today.

Carlos Ruiz - FD 2200 DK 2900 DFSTR 4700
If you're looking for a cheaper option, consider Ruiz. While he's been relatively platoon neutral over the course of his career, his .20 wOBA edge vs. lefties does mean something. Alex Wood really hasn't looked like himself early this season (11 Ks against 8 BB in 18 IP? Blech), and Philly is still a pretty tough place to pitch. Ruiz is unlikely to light your world on fire, but his high-contact approach gives him a reasonably high floor, especially on this price. Which I get is weird, considering how bad he's been. But the K rate and BB rate look good - if that BABIP turns, he'll be just fine.

Also considered: Evan Gattis. Our projection system is standing by him, yes, in spite of his ridiculously awful start, and yes, against the red-hot Scott Kazmir. But just keep in mind - Gattis was a God against lefties last season, and he's presumably still the same human being. You could never call a situation like this safe, but it could just be a very interesting value play.


First Base

Brandon Belt - FD 3400 DK 4900 DFSTR 6700
Belt's MVP case may already be ruined, but this is daily fantasy baseball. So grow up. Belt will be hitting in Coors Field (where he's managed a .971 OPS in 77 ABs in his career), and he's facing Eddie Butler. Eddie Butler, if you aren't familiar with his work, has walked more batters than he's struck out in his combined brief major and AAA tenure. He's basically that kid from Rookie of the Year after he re-injures his arm and can no longer throw fast. If he gets 15 more starts in the majors this season, I'll have Doug throw tomatoes at me on camera and post it to the site. Strike while this particular iron is hot, my friends.

Chris Davis - FD 3500 DK 4400 DFSTR 6000
Okay, so I'm recommending someone with a 37% strike out rate this season. Hear me out. First of all, Davis is going to be a way better play against any righty than he will against any lefty, and Porcello is cursed with the scourge that is right-handedness. Next, Porcello has managed just a 5.5 K/9 rate for his career. So this is sort of a case of the moveable object (Davis) vs. the Stoppable force (Porcello). Davis is still hammering balls that he actually hits, and I think he'll hit some balls here. Huge upside, but he could go all golden sombrero again. Ya got me.

The what's old is new again guys
Adam Lind - FD 3100 DK 3900 DFSTR 6200
Kendrys Morales - FD 2700 DK 3900 DFSTR 5500
I kind of like each of these guys the same, but for different reasons. I like Lind because he's on the better end of his platoon, but dislike him because his opposing pitcher is good. I like Morales because the price is right, and I like the match-up with Quintana and how he's looked during Spring and early this season. Both are hitting in good hitters' parks. I'll take Belt for safety over either, but there's real upside with both.

Also considered: If you can save up, Encarnacion.

Second Base

Neil Walker - FD 3100 DK 4300 DFSTR 6300
If you don't play a lot of daily fantasy baseball, you probably have no reason to know that Neil Walker is one of the most dramatic platoon split guys at the second base position. He's put up a wOBA .53 points higher against northpaws over the course of his career. Sweetening this particular deal are the lovely hitting environment of Bank One, and Josh Collmenter. My man Josh, while I'm sure he has many talents, would struggle to strike out with your mother. And I mean, zing.

Jimmy Paredes - FD 3000 DK 2000 DFSTR 3000
Not exactly a household name here - especially for an increasing price tag - but there's a lot to like about the Orioles' youngster. He's a sneaky power/speed threat, putting up 10 homers and 25 SB across a few levels last season. Furthermore, his biggest weakness (striking out) is mitigated by Rick Porcello's inability to strike out opposing hitters. If he's batting 2nd the way he has been recently, he could be in a position to put up another set of nice fantasy numbers.

Devon Travis - FD 3100 DK 3100 DFSTR 3000
Travis is an interesting guy, because we've basically been telling our projection system to cool its jets on him, and I've personally omitted him from the picks and my lineups a handful of times. You know what's happened - 4 homers and a .388 batting average. What the hell is going on? Well, the power we've seen probably isn't legit, but Travis is a guy with an advanced approach who can make opposing pitchers (and especially lefties) pay. Smyly is returning from injury, and is basically an unknown quantity at this point. His unorthodox approach has led to some struggles with right handed hitters in the past - and this could be a tough spot for him.

Also considered: Brandon Phillips.




Asdrubal Cabrera - FD 2500 DK 3300 DFSTR
For whatever reason, the Rays keep inserting Cabrera into the three spot in their lineup, so we'll probably keep recommending him against non-elite pitchers when that's the case. He's platoon neutral, and Dickey hasn't been really effective in three years. He's basically a high-floor, low ceiling way to escape this position cheaply.

Erick Aybar - FD 2700 DK 3500 DFSTR 5300
Yup, it's a day to save up at shortstop. Aybar has been whatever the opposite of the cat's pajamas is this season, but a lot of that is more a result of bad luck than lessened skills. His 13% BB to 8% K rate is still more than reasonable, and he hits around a bunch of dudes who can still hit. The real villain has been his .226 BABIP, which simply can't stay that way. The Angels might hit Wandy back into the stone age, here, and Aybar could have plenty of opportunity for a bounceback in his counting stats.

Brandon Crawford - FD 3000 DK 4400 DFSTR 5700
Now I'll probably try to save up at SS, but if you are going to spend, Crawford makes an interesting part of a Giants stack. I've documented Butlers' inability to pitch at a major league level already, and the left-handed Crawford has been significantly better against RHP during his career. Also, Coors. There's a case here, to be sure. But the upside is all in the counting stats, since Crawford does little else. It just doesn't tickle me.

Also considered: Freddy Galvis.


Third Base

Pablo Sandoval - FD 3200 DK 4500 DFSTR 6200
Man, for such a big slate, third base is sort of a mess. Me? I'll grab Sandoval. Miguel Gonzalez smoked and mirrored his way past the Sox in their last meeting, but he really was pretty bad - striking out 5 while walking 4 before getting chased after 5 IP. Sandoval went 1/3 with a BB, which would have been a decent outing had he piled any counting stats to go with it. The system likes him here because Sandoval's one of those confusion guy who throws right handed but hits right handed pitching way better (as a result of his switch hitting ways). Gonzalez should struggle again here, and Pablo could have a huge day.

Josh Harrison - FD 3000 DK 4300 DFSTR 6400
Harrison is basically platoon neutral for his career, and all the stuff that I wrote about Collmenter above applies to Harrison too, of course. Harrison's uninspiring triple-slash line is mostly grounded in a lousy BABIP, and this is certainly a fantastic spot to turn that around and access Harrison's decent power/speed skills.

An interesting punt could be Danny Valencia. He never turned into the player some hoped he'd be, but he has put up an .880 OPS against lefties over the course of his career. This season, he's batting .600! Okay, 10 ABs. But still, he's getting reps for the Jays against left handed pitching, and if he's a go against Smyly, this is pretty much what he was born to do.

Also considered: Aramis Ramirez. Our projection system has called for a steady hand on Ramirez, and it finally paid off on Thursday, as he smacked his first homer of the season. But there are definitely some red flags here, and age could be getting the best of him. Deploy at your own risk, but there's upside here on these bargain prices.



Carlos Gonzalez - FD 3500 DK 4700 DFSTR 7200 SpTradeX B
Well, we're in a position where Gonzalez is basically the last reasonably priced Rocky(ie?) left. And it makes sense. He really has been bad. But if you ask me, Heston is out-pitching his minor league track record, and I'm willing to keep betting that Cargo isn't going to BABIP .150 points below his career norms all season. I get it if you're spooked, but we're either going to find out that he's hurt, or this will turn. I'll take the latter while the price is this low, especially in ideal match-ups at home.

Melky Cabrera - FD 2700 DK 4100 DFSTR 6600
Our projections system would have you play Melky at these prices every day, and that's basically what you've been able to do recently. And really, it's been a week since you've been hurt dramatically by his performance. He's been what we've come to expect - a relatively low ceiling, high floor outfield play against pitchers who give up a lot of contact. While Danny Duffy has shown promise over the course of his career, this isn't a great park for his skillset, and Melky could be in the middle of stuff once again.

Angel Pagan - FD 3400 DK 4600 DFSTR 6700
Eddie Butler in Coors sweepstakes. You know the drill, by now.

Jose Bautista - FD 5000 DK 4400 DFSTR 7600 SpTradeX
This is where to spend up if you have savings from playing cheap guys elsewhere. Our projection system actually doesn't love him strictly on a points per dollar basis, but I don't think it's properly accounting for Bautista's particular brand of no-doubter-power. Tampa is a lousy place to hit, but what Bautista did to left-handers last year was downright unusual. A .461 wOBA isn't based on park factors, it's based on seeing a ball, and smashing it. I think he'll frankly abuse the recovering Smyly.

Travis Snider - FD 2800 DK 3700 DFSTR 6500
At first blush, what Snider's doing looks unsustainable. At second blush, it still does. But there is something to really like here. His 24% K to 15% walk rate is very much like his peak minor league years where people thought he'd be the next great power/average threat. He's hitting lasers all over the field, and while he won't BABIP over .400 for the season, his sub .300 number before this season always looked low for this hit tool. Porcello makes an ideal match-up for him as well, and I think he'll use his discerning eye and level swing to put up some numbers on a very reasonable price here.

Also considered: Ryan Braun, Marlon Byrd, Carlos Beltran.
Be sure to try out a free 3-day trial to the projection system that helps produce these picks for the MLB! And check out our free MLB ebook below.

NBA eBook

FREE eBook with our Secrets to Crushing Daily Fantasy Baseball!

* indicates required

DFSR Baseball E-Book

1 Visitor Comment

  1. Wanted to thank you for your consistently excellent picks and info in MLB, NBA, and PGA. Just wanted to let you know that I heard that Bautista tweaked his shoulder after trying to throw someone out at first base (after all of the Blue Jays – Orioles shenanigans) and may not be in the lineup today.

Post a Reply




Our free NBA and MLB eBooks, and picks to your inbox every day!

Your eBooks are on their way!